palm sunday 5Homily for Mass – Palm  Sunday of the Passion of the Lord (Year A)

(Mary Immaculate Church, Annerley: 7:30am, 9:00am & 5:00pm)

13 April 2014

[Readings: Mt 21:1-11; Is 50:4-7; Ps 21; Phil 2:6-11; Mt 26:14-27:66]

At the beginning of our Mass today we carried branches and we sang joyful hymns to Christ the King, commemorating that day when he entered Jerusalem. On that day, the crowds rejoiced and celebrated; they recognized Jesus and sang, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Jesus had awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, and he has bent down to heal body and soul. This is Jesus. This is his heart which looks to all of us, to our sicknesses, to our sins. The love of Jesus is great. And thus he enters Jerusalem, with his love, and looks at us. It’s a beautiful scene, full of light – the light of the love of Jesus, the love of his heart – of joy, of celebration. (1)

As we walk with Jesus as he enters into Jerusalem, we are going to continue walking with him in the days ahead. For Christian people, this week ahead is the most important week of the whole year. If ever we should put an extra effort in to be at church for the liturgy and prayer, this is the week we should do it. We walk with Jesus not just to watch, but because these mysteries which we celebrate are the story of our lives too. We are caught up into them by virtue of our baptism. A key moment of this week is when we get to the Easter Masses we will renew our baptismal promises – professing the faith in which we have been caught up … namely, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the mystery which saves us and leads us to heaven.

Between our remembrance of the joyful entry of Jesus to Jerusalem, and our profession of our baptismal faith, we will pass by way of the Cross. This is why Jesus entered Jerusalem: not to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused … to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe. Jesus enters Jerusalem to climb Calvary, carrying the wood of the Cross. Why? Why the Cross?

On the Cross, Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including the sin of all of us, and he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. … Jesus on the cross feels the whole weight of evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it and defeats it with his resurrection. (1)

This is the Good News! When we bring our sufferings to Christ, he can defeat them. When we bring our sins to him, he can cleanse them and wash us in his mercy and love. We touch our lips to the Cross because through the Cross Christ conquers. And this immense gift that we receive is what we meant to share with the world.

To take the power of Christ’s sacrifice to all those parts of the world in the darkness of suffering, the darkness of sin. This is what our baptism and confirmation impels us to do.

Let’s enter into this Holy Week with the intention to really make it special. To draw close to Jesus so that he can draw close to us … so that we can experience his saving power in our lives in new ways, and so that he can strengthen us to be the sacrament of his salvation in the midst of our world.

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